Santin – Professor of Tissue Regeneration in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences – recently gave a speech at the World Biomaterials Congress which highlighted the sometimes overlooked contribution biomaterials can make in the fight against COVID-19. “As at any time of crisis, COVID-19 has accelerated progress in the field of health technologies. Biomaterials have been key enabling technologies for the development of vaccine nano-carriers and devices for intensive care,” he said.
Despite its vital contribution, Professor Santin believes the role of biomaterials research has not been properly acknowledged. “During this pandemic, our community has not been represented in scientific advisory panels and media debates,” he argues. “As a community of scientists, we need to convey more strongly the importance and a sense of urgency of our research to our stakeholders in the interest of our patients and our society at large.”
As well as his professorial role at the University of Brighton, Santin is Director of the Sussex institution's pioneering Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Devices (CRMD). He is also the academic lead on a Healthy Futures initiative of huge relevance during a pandemic which has shown significantly worse impacts on people with underlying health issues.
More broadly, Professor Santin's multidisciplinary research group has been developing natural biomaterials (for example, soybean-based biomaterials) and synthetic biomimetic nano materials to improve tissue regeneration. His team's breakthrough innovations also include new medical devices as well as improvements in community healthcare.